Publisher Activision Blizzard recently began a layoff process of nearly 800 employees. During a February 12th earnings call, the company revealed its intentions to eliminate nearly 8% of its current staff. In 2018, the company held around 9,600 employees. The layoff is impacting employees across Activision, Blizzard and King organizations.
Due to missed expectations for 2018, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told investors that the company would be restructuring its workforce. The layoff primarily hit non-game development departments such as esports, publishing and marketing. The company intends to bolster positions for development staff for high-selling franchises such as Call of Duty and Diablo. The focus on development more than anything else reflects the company’s desire to produce more product by cutting costs elsewhere.
In a note to staff, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack stated that:
“Currently staffing levels on some teams are out of proportion with our current release slate. This means we need to scale down some areas of our organization. I’m sorry to share that we will be parting ways with some of our colleagues in the U.S. today. In our regional offices, we anticipate similar evaluations, subject to local requirements.”
The letter went on to say that “there’s no way to make this transition easy for impacted employees, but we are doing what we can to support our colleagues.” The letter discussed a “comprehensive severance package” which includes career coaching, job placement assistance, profit-sharing bonuses for the previous year and a continuation of health benefits. For weeks, employees were coming to work with rumors of impending layoffs plaguing their minds. One person at Blizzard even claimed the employees were hugging and crying in the parking lot as they arrived to work the morning of February 12th.
These layoffs come on the heels of great success for the company. In a press release to investors, Bobby Kotick stated that “while our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential. To help us reach our full potential, we have made a number of important leadership changes.” These changes primarily involve a focus on development by cutting non-development resources to maximize profits.
The future for many Activision Blizzard employees is now more uncertain than ever. In light of mass layoffs such as Telltale’s, many industry workers are surely nervous about what the future holds for their careers. Hopefully, there are positions just waiting for these employees to step into and shine.
What do you think this means for the company? Tell us in the comments!